Thursday, 13 August 2020

Traders return to markets with covid safety measures

MORE traders have returned to Henley’s open-air markets.

The town council is not allowing a full market to take place in order to allow for more space between the stalls and is reviewing this weekly.

Some traders have not returned anyway due to underlying health issues or age.

Charter markets are held in Falaise Square every Thursday, while farmers’ markets are held every second Saturday, fourth Thursday and fifth Sunday, when applicable. All traders are using and providing hand gel, some are wearing gloves and masks and displaying posters promoting social distancing and a few have now started taking card payments rather than cash.

Town council staff attend the markets to ensure traders adhere to the social distancing rules.

Nicci Taylor, the officer responsible, said: “They’re all very clean. Some have got bowls of hot water in flasks and bowls of hot water and soap they are washing their hands with.” One stall was using a bowl of sterilising fluid to clean coins.

The markets were scaled back in March in line with the order to close “non-essential shops”. Only businesses that sell food were allowed to remain.

In the first few weeks of lockdown only the fruit and vegetable stall and Croatian food stall remained and they were joined a few weeks later by the fish van and charcuterie stall. The fruit and veg stall also provided an additional service where customers could order a box of produce by phone or social media, pay online and then collect from a different point in the square to avoid queues.

The size of the pitch was also extended to permit safer queuing with social distancing.

Meanwhile, the council wants to try running the farmers’ market itself as a six-month trial after the organiser gave it up.

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